All I Need Is A Little Help From My Friends

By Marnie Pehrson | Date Submitted: 11/14/02

Category: Friendship
Keywords: friendship, Barak, Deborah, spiritual gifts
Summary: The story of friendship between Deborah and Barak in the Old Testament and what we can learn from them about helping a friend in need.

Recently, I've been fascinated by the friendship between Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges chapter 4. Deborah was a prophetess and a judge in Israel at a time when the people were in bondage to Jabin the king of Canaan whose armies were led by a captain named Sisera. The time came for their deliverance from bondage, and Deborah called Barak to go after Sisera's army and deliver Israel.

Barak said, "If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go." I think Deborah and Barak were friends. Barak trusted Deborah. He knew she had the gift of prophecy and he wanted her with him if he was going to face a formidable foe. He knew that he needed the Lord on his side and that Deborah would see things with her spiritual eyes that he could not see.

Deborah consented to go with him, but let Barak know that he wouldn't be getting any honor or glory from this venture, because the Lord would deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. But Barak didn't care. It wasn't about the honor, it was about doing what the Lord wanted him to do – and he knew he could do that better if he had Deborah at his side.

So they gathered up 10,000 men and Deborah went along. They pitched their tents on the plains for the evening. Then the next morning, Deborah said to Barak, "Up, for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone before thee?" Deborah, with her gift of prophecy, could see that the time of their deliverance had arrived. Her spiritual gift allowed her to see that the Lord was there, ready to lead the way.

Barak followed Deborah's advice and the Israelites began to slay the army of Sisera on every side. But Sisera escaped and was later tricked by a woman who killed him while he slept. Thus, Deborah's prophecy was fulfilled – that Barak would not get the glory for killing Sisera. A woman received that honor.

There are two things I've found that my Heavenly Father delights to give me - understanding or knowledge and friends. Usually they come together in pairs. Invariably when a heavy question is weighing on my mind or I face a challenging situation, if I turn to the Lord in prayer for direction, in His perfect timing the answer comes. Usually a friend delivers the answer. Either the Lord will inspire someone I know to say or do something that addresses my need, or He will lead someone totally new into my life who has the answer to my question. What's even more beautiful is that I usually have the solution they need as well – just like Deborah needed Barak to do the work of battle and Barak needed Deborah to see the things he could not. Heavenly Father is a "Master Matchmaker." He brings people together who have what each other needs. To watch Him work is a magnificent, awe-inspiring experience.

It's been said that you never see a hearse pulling a u-haul, but there are two treasures you can take with you when you leave this life. These are the knowledge/experience you gain while you're here and the loving relationships that you form. Perhaps that is why the Lord is so generous in bestowing these on those who ask, knock and seek.

There is an old Quaker proverb that states, "Thee lift me and I'll lift thee, and we'll ascend together." Are you lifting those around you? Are their lives happier and their loads lighter because you are present? Do you make it easier for them to do the right thing? Or do you force them to choose between what they know is right and what you want them to do? There is no greater joy than building others up and helping them be the best they can be. And there is no truer friend than one who leaves you better than s/he found you.

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